The pandemic has had an enormous impact on every area of our lives; the way we socialise, live, learn, work and interact with each other.
Residents from almost every state and territory have experienced lockdowns, and we have relied heavily on technology to enable us to continue to work and stay connected to loved ones.
For the 260+ inmates at the Adelaide Remand Centre, the lockdown is ongoing. Men arrive from all over the country and complete their mandatory two weeks quarantine within their cells, where they remain for 23.75 hours per day. It’s difficult to imagine such isolation.
For Baptist Care SA Prison Chaplain, Richard Hawke, this has proven to be a significant challenge.
“I can bend down and look through the trap door wearing a mask (to speak to prisoners), but that’s obviously problematic,” he explains.
To help combat prisoner boredom and reach out to those in isolation, Richard has developed a regular activity brochure which is circulated to every cell in the Centre, as well as to all staff. The brochure includes puzzles, crosswords, quizzes, quotes, and inspirational true stories about famous Christians, such as John Newton and Nick Vujicic.
The reception to his simple activity pages has been incredibly positive from both staff and inmates. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, this year has seen a steady number of inmates turn to Christianity and seek help in reforming through Baptist Care SA’s Breaking Free Program.
“The Holy Spirit is really at work,” says Richard. “We’re on track to have eight people in the program this year, which is the most we’ve ever had at any one time.”
Breaking Free is a special support program which connects newly released prisoners with a mentor at a local church to help break the cycle of reoffending. Participants have either had a faith experience or are strongly open to Christianity.
With a long history of addiction and addiction-related crime, Liam* has been in and out of prison his entire adult life.
“It’s hard, it’s really hard breaking the habits and patterns of a lifetime, and Liam has definitely had his struggles, but he’s absolutely determined to change,” says Richard.
Please pray for Liam and the other men in the program as they seek to transform their lives with the help of the Holy Spirit. We thank God that He never gives up on any one of us!
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39
*not his real name